View Full Version : How do you drink it?

09-20-2005, 14:19
I'd be most interested to know how you prefer to drink your Bourbon, straight, with water, over ice, type of glass preferred to get the best aromatics etc. You'll have to excuse me as I'm a Brit that has only recently discovered the pleasure of Bourbon. When Scotch was my favorite indulgence I always took it with a little spring water, but currently I like my Bourbon over ice, I let cool right down and get a little melt water in it prior to sipping. mmmmmm

09-20-2005, 14:31
I generally prefer mine like I do my Scotch, neat, or straight. I'll add a little bottled water to the Cask Strength ones to bring out a little more flavor.

But, as Jim Cryle from Glenlivet once told me, "It's not how you drink it, just that you drink and enjoy it."

Everybody is different.



09-20-2005, 14:40
I like mine neat, in a brandy snifter. The only time I add a splash of water is for the high proof stuff over about 110.
Joe http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

09-20-2005, 15:02
Neat in a brandy snifter typically but lately I've been enjoying it in a lowball glass as well. The lowball glass makes it harder for the kids to knock over when they run around the house. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif

09-20-2005, 15:27
I like mine neat in a brandy snifter at room temperature. I never add water, I never add ice. Water and ice in my opinion ruin the taste of the bourbon. I really enjoy that thick ritch flavor you get from drinking it straight. Oh ya...that slight burn isn't bad either... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif

09-20-2005, 19:48
In a shot glass, under the tongue, roll it from the tip to the back, down the hatch. Like a man.

09-21-2005, 04:42
It depends on my mood. Generally I like it on one cube of ice in a lowball glass. Recently I've aquired a liking for it neat in a bandy snifter (see the Glasswear Poll thread under Paraphernalia). I don't own anything over 101 proof (except that Spring '05 Stagg I got last week that isn't open yet), so I find there is no excessive burn drinking it neat.

09-21-2005, 05:16
On the rare occasions i drink my spring stagg, ill take it neat. Id say for any bottling, ill drink it neat 95% of the time. but when i do go for ice, its always for the first tasting of the night.
at clubs here in japan, they only have crap Four Roses, IW Harper and Beam white so ill take it with ice thank you very much!

09-21-2005, 08:03
I drink all whisk(e)y neat, preferably in a brandy snifter. I prefer a simple snifter over any other glassware, even the Riedel bourbon glasses. No ice, ever. Occasionally a tiny bit of water with cask-strength Scotch, but I never add water to bourbon.

Hedmans Brorsa
09-21-2005, 08:47
Medium sized Cognac snifter (for optimal nosing experience).

Water only added if stronger than around 107 proof (only very small amounts) or if I, for instance, try three 101 proof whiskeys in a row.

Someone mentioned room temperature. The importance of this cannot be overstated. Patience is a virtue!

09-21-2005, 09:03
Rocks glass (heavy-based tumbler with clear sides) almost always, a finger or less. No ice, ever, except sometimes at parties. Water, yes or no depending on proof but also the particular whiskey. Personally I never liked the Riedel-type glasses or copitas, they are too tall and can over-concentrate the vapors. Also, I don't like when a thin stream of whiskey travels down the side walls and gets too, um, attenuated. I like a proper sip from a short wide glass. (For the same reason, I don't like snifters). Glasses are a funny thing, except at functions like Gazebo (where it was great to find any kind of glass!) or parties where I don't have a choice, I'm at the point where I really need to use my favorite glass, otherwise it doesn't taste right.


09-21-2005, 10:10
I drink everything neat. Old Grand Dad 114 surprised me with no burn (but the toungue sure does tingle). So far, even the ones it was recommended to add a little H2O, I went back to neat. But, I just got a bottle of Stagg, and I did put a wee bit of water in it. When I experiment, the first sip is always neat (you can't take it out) I believe the Stagg will be the only one I will dilute, and then with a very light hand. But I'm still experimenting. But as far as scotch, I always put a drop of water to open it up, regardless of proof. And the glass, after some experimenting with "nosing" glasses, a simple rocks glass seems the best, especially after the bourbon sits for a while. I love it when I can smell the bourbon from 5 feet away!

09-21-2005, 11:15
Neat. Usually with a glass of water on the side, but I don't drink it close enough to the burboun to feel it dilutes. Play some with cocktails, but that's sort of a different category.

09-21-2005, 16:59
I suppose I like it all ways. Neat probably 40% of the time, on the rocks another 40%, and with water about 20%.

Certain bottlings are too good to mess up and I almost always have them neat, e.g., Blanton's, Elmer T. Lee, Rock Hill Farms, Old Grand Dad 114, Kentucky Spirit, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon.


09-21-2005, 17:07
Certain bottlings are too good to mess up and I almost always have them neat, e.g., Blanton's, Elmer T. Lee, Rock Hill Farms, Old Grand Dad 114, Kentucky Spirit, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon.

I like the way you stated this..."mess up". Good quote...My thing is now I don't want to "mess up" any bourbon. Strong and straight...drink it like a man! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif

09-22-2005, 05:52
During the summer evenings we sit outside for an hour or two each evening. During that time I'll have a 16 oz glass filled half water, half ice and a jigger of Wild Turkey. Great summer refresher. In the evening, I'll have 3-4 oz neat in a Schott Zwiesel Glass (the one in my avatar).


09-22-2005, 07:52
I overheard Ed (Pepcycle) say the funninest thing I ever heard regarding this topic once:

Q - "Should I add a little water or ice to this bourbon?"

A - "Heck no.....some Straightbourbon folks here might me commiting ego suicide if they drink it that way".

I drink it neat, a little water or an ice cube......depends on the situation and the bourbon.


09-22-2005, 08:06
I think TonyM's quote from Glenlivit above says it all..


09-22-2005, 15:40
With good stuff it's either straight or with one cube (would you expect anything else!?) http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

With lower-end stuff or high-end duds it's 50-50 bourbon & ginger ale.

09-22-2005, 17:36
Mostly straight in a snifter, but on a hot summers evening on the porch, I use a pint glass filled with ice 2 shots and topped with water(usually just done with mid-to-lower end stuff). Course if anyone noticed, at the Gazebo, I was using some real nice acrylic tumblers that Maker's sent me.

09-22-2005, 18:06
I take a large leaded crystal highball glass, fill it full of ice, and add as much Bourbon as I think I might wish to have for the immediate future, repeat as needed.

09-22-2005, 18:28
Well, what if you are having a not-so-great bourbon? Such as Old Grand Dad 86, regular Evan Williams, or regular Old Forester. To me, bourbons like that beg for a few ice cubes.

I usually drink Old Grand Dad 114 or even Booker's straight, but some things are just better on-the-rocks.


09-22-2005, 21:14
Higher end bourbons always neat, usually in a wide shot glass. Middle of the road sometimes shot but usually in a rocks glass with lots of ice (I drink it pretty fast so very little dilution occurs and I can refill without heading to the fridge for more ice). Low end with a mixer.

But it also depends on my mood. Sometimes a straight shot or two right down of the cheaper stuff reminds me of my mis-spent youth!!

09-23-2005, 07:31
For the most part, I drink all bourbons straight up and the biggest change is the different glasses I use. Sometimes a Reidel Bourbon, sometimes an "O", occasionally a Glencairn, and more fleetingly in an ordinary old fashioned glass. As for water, I do occasionally add a drop or two when first opening a new bottle to unlock the secrets within and file the results in my ever shrinking longterm memory. High proofs don't usually phase me but I have had good results with Stagg and an exceedingly small cube of ice that I allow to completely dissolve while swishing the bourbon in the palm of my hand. The aromatics I get from bourbon vary with the type of glass as well but I don't find a great variance as I have a very average nose. The only time I order bourbon on the rocks is when I'm at my local Casino which boasts MM as it's top bourbon. For some reason that is the way I prefer MM. Maybe it's more that I can stretch a single drink further sipping while not inhibiting my ability to keep from blowing all my money too quickly there.

09-23-2005, 09:21
That's a good point, and now that I think of it, some of my experimentations with less expensive bourbons have left me deciding they were better on the rocks. Rebel Yell comes to mind as maybe the prime example of that.

And I don't know what it is about the OGD 114, but it never seems to suugest the need for a "proof cut," although Bookers or Stagg sometimes do. I realize they are higher proof, but it's not even a close thing with the 114, and I've had friends lap it up while cutting a 100 proof bourbon.


10-13-2005, 15:20
I like my bourbon in a short tumbler with one or two large ice cubes. I like to listen while the bourbon has its way with the cubes. After about a minute the cubes "POP". Then after about three minutes the bourbon is suffiecently cooled and ready for my indulgence. Scotch is a different story. I only drink Scotch about two or three times a year when at my brother's house. He always has good scotch. A scotch drink is always neat in a short tumbler. Scotch as well as bourbon should never be over indulged. I break this rule too often but always return for more. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

10-13-2005, 23:35
Hi Bob,
OGD 114 sometimes burns my throat, but when that happens cutting it doesn't help much, even when cutting it fifty fifty. Right this minute it doesn't require any water at all. Wonderful!

Booker's? Cut Booker's? To my palate Booker's never needs water. Never. Stagg, though, I almost always have to cut to around 100 proof. A few ounces into the evening and I can drink it straight.


10-14-2005, 14:22
Well, when I just want to relax I use my Glencairn-glass adding only a very small icecube. I like it a bit cool, it gets that ultimate dessert-like quality that I can't get enough of. If I try different bourbons at the same time I use tulip-shaped tasting glasses adding only small amounts of water. Ice tends to kill the nose quite a bit.

In the fantastic book "The Book of Bourbon - And Other Fine American Whiskeys" by Gary Regan and Mardee Haidin Regan (1995) they ask the distiller masters how they prefer their bourbon. Only Jimmy Russel said he sometimes preferred it neat. The majority liked it on the rocks with or without a splash of water. David Backus of George Dickel wanted it on ice cut 50/50 with water. To me that sounds extremely diluted, I mean, whats left of the whiskey? Anyway, drink it the way you like it, the pro's do.

10-22-2005, 17:48
in a shot glass, but only 3/4 full.

10-22-2005, 18:41
What he said. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

I like mine neat, in a brandy snifter. The only time I add a splash of water is for the high proof stuff over about 110.
Joe http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

10-24-2005, 16:18
Neat, neat, and neat. Usually with an ice water back.

04-30-2006, 12:10
[QUOTE=ratcheer]Well, what if you are having a not-so-great bourbon? Such as Old Grand Dad 86, regular Evan Williams, or regular Old Forester. To me, bourbons like that beg for a few ice cubes.

Not so great? Hey, I think Evan Williams is GREAT!

04-30-2006, 12:11
OK Ratcheer, that being said, ... yes, some of these are GREAT with Sprite!

04-30-2006, 12:12
BUT, I am drinking AAA 10YO with Sprite now and to tell you the truth, the sprite tastes a lot better with Wild Turkey!

04-30-2006, 12:19
Usually with Dr. Pepper but on the odd special occasion I'l have it with cough mixture!

05-01-2006, 05:51
Count me as one of those wierdos that like the Reidel glassware. I haven't had the opportunity to try the bourbon glasses, but I do like the single malt scotch ones. To me they do a better job of giving you the prooper aroma without the alcohol burn. Maybe my nose is wierd, but when drinking neat bourbon in an old fashioned glass I get to much alcohol in the scent.

I drink most high end bourbons neat. On occaision, like with Bookers, I will use one ice cube. If I'm drinking socially at a party I'll go with a bigger glass and plenty of ice. Cheaper bourbons, or when at a football tailgate, usually go with Coke or Sprite.

05-01-2006, 06:40
This was one of the early threads I read after joining the board. I wanted to get an appreciation of what the right way was to drink bourbon, since before I had only been drinking VG 90 in a glass full of cubes and water. I still like it that way from time to time. Especially when it's warm out on the patio.

Currently I have found that I like to try new pours neat in what equates to a jigger glass, then after a sip or two add one cube (thanks one cube only). I like what this does. I feel like I get the full spectrum on what I'm tasting. Starting out room temperature, then adding a cube, which slowly starts to cool and dilute the mixture. Water at varying degrees from the cube as it melts seems like it aids me in recognizing flavors I couldn't find as well, I think because in most cases, proof gets in the way of my taste buds.

I do know one thing for sure, I tried a few variations on the way to get to this point and I know as time goes on I'll try many more. I'm still working on a favorite glass or style of glass. As with anything, half the fun is the trip getting there.

It would be interesting to revive this thread every year or two and see if age or other factors have had any influence on people's preferences.


05-01-2006, 09:58
I love old fashioneds. I'm finding that the more of them I drink the less bitters and sugar I am adding and am finely getting to where I am getting closer to appreciating more of the taste of the whiskey.

I think the old fashioned cocktail is the best tasting liquid on the planet period. I hope one day I can go all 'neat.'

05-01-2006, 10:18
I too like the old fashioned, but with a caveat. I like them made in the way described by David Wondrich in his Esquire Drinks book. Sugar, bitters, soda water, whiskey. No muddled fruit.

I also find that old fashioneds work best with hearty bourbons or rye. I like Makers Mark, but it makes a weak old fashioned to me. Wild Turkey on the other hand makes a fine old fashioned!

05-01-2006, 10:26
Soda water may be a bastardization of this cocktail as is the muddled fruit.
Try it without it.

05-01-2006, 11:48
neat in a highball glass. Often one cube of ice goes in first. It just does something to the drink, it's not CUBES of ice that get all melted over time and it's not cut with water. Just one cube and the rest neat, try it you'll like it.

05-01-2006, 13:06
I usually drink neat, especially when I try a bourbon for the first time. However, I can prefer on the rocks or even a mix. with tonic water, depending on my mood. Mint julep is also very good alternative.

BTW, bourbon and tonic water mix on the rocks garnished with a slice of lime really tastes very well :yum: a bit sour, fresh, cool,...:)

05-01-2006, 14:20
Soda water may be a bastardization of this cocktail as is the muddled fruit.
Try it without it.

I've used both. I only use enough water to dissolve the sugar. I don't taste a discernable difference. I suppose if you used more than and ounce or so it would be noticable. I usually use regular water since I don't often have an open bottle of soda.

Whiskey River
05-01-2006, 14:31
I enjoy bourbon best neat. Although, I do cut Bookers with enough water, to bring it down to 110 PF. To hot to taste at 126 PF, for me.